Parents will be relieved to know that school supplies, clothes and most other items are eligible for savings this weekend and exempt from state sales tax.

Families getting ready to send their children back to school can save money during the 2015 Louisiana annual Sales Tax Holiday on Friday and Saturday. During these two days, most retail purchases are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax.

The holiday exempts the first $2,500 of the purchase price of each eligible item when the customer buys and accepts delivery of eligible property; places property on layaway; acquires property that was previously placed on layaway; or places an order for immediate delivery, even if the delivery must be delayed, provided the customer has not requested delayed delivery.

Also, the sales tax holiday applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes apply to purchases unless the local taxing authority creates its own exemption.

The sales tax holiday does not apply to vehicles subject to title and license; meals prepared for consumption on premises or to go; and taxable services such as hotel occupancy, laundry services, printing services, telecommunication services, the furnishing of cold-storage space, leases or rentals of tangible personal property, repairs to tangible personal property, and admission to athletic, amusement or recreational facilities or events.

For a full explanation of conditions, visit

The Louisiana Department of Revenue reminds shoppers to retain receipts for back-to-school items such as supplies, uniforms and equipment required by schools. These purchases may qualify for tax deductions on state income tax returns due May 15.

The deductions apply to educational expenses for public, private, parochial and home schools.

To claim the deductions, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return and must be able to provide documentation for the expenses.

For information about the Louisiana school tuition and expense tax deductions, visit

Faithfest activities

Faithfest 2015 is scheduled Friday through Sunday and will feature Christian music, book signings, exhibits, film, food and presentations.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, ending with a mass Faith Rally in Zachary at Milldale Conference Center, 11950 Milldale Road. Admission is $1.

Faithfest is co-sponsored by Inspire Louisiana Magazine and Milldale Baptist Church.

Special events include a “God Bless America” concert by Jim and James Linden Hogg on fiddle and guitar in Revolutionary War costume with drama monologues on the Christian roots of the American nation; a presentation, personal testimony and book signing by Gary Stewart, author of “The Most Dangerous Animal of All”; Christian music featuring the 15-piece Dixon Prison Band, the Fontenots, Lone Highway Band, New Gospel Travelers, Carlton Jones, of Old South Jamboree, and Debra and Sonny Hood; a presentation on modern prophecies of Louisiana as the spark for spiritual fires of renewal in America by Todd Trahan of “Intercessors for Louisiana”; a special prayer session to ask for God’s divine mercy by Charles and Celie Carpenter; and the presentation “Victory Over Addiction” by Walter Hackney.

Faith Rally speakers include state Sen. Sharon Weston-Broome, former Zachary Mayor Charlene Smith, Checo Yancy and the Revs. Dick Metz, Jason Robertson, Ricky Sinclair, Tony Spell and Steve Young.

For information, visit or call (225) 931-4658.

Support group for diabetes

Lane Regional Medical Center will host a diabetes support group meeting from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Diabetes Education Office, 4801 McHugh Road, Suite C, in Zachary.

Those who have suffered from diabetes or are newly diagnosed, know a friend or loved one with diabetes or would like to learn more about the disease or reinforce what they already know are welcome to attend.

Diabetics, including family, friends and others in supporting roles, are invited. Registration is not required.

For information, call Sherri Brady at (225) 658-4583.

Moms support group to meet

New Mom’s Hope, a monthly support group for new mothers suffering from postpartum depression, will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Aug. 13 at Lane Regional Medical Center, 6300 Main St., Zachary.

This free meeting will be led by local licensed professional counselor Dana LeTard Vicellio.

The purpose of the group is to provide encouragement, education and support for mothers-to-be and new mothers having emotional difficulty related to childbirth.

Vicellio said symptoms of postpartum depression include feeling sad or depressed; feeling irritable or angry with those around you; having difficulty bonding with baby; feeling anxious or panicky; having problems with eating or sleeping; having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind; feeling as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”; feeling like you never should have become a mother; or worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself.

For information, call (225) 658-4587.

Send news and events for Around Zachary to Stacy Gill at by 3 p.m. Fridays or call (225) 993-0066.